Two things have happened in the last week that got my “grrr” factor going. The first was an e-mail from someone we will call “Mr. Unhappy.” And why was he unhappy? Because of a review that we ran. Oddly, it wasn’t even his book. The book, which will for the purposes of this column remain unnamed, got a fairly good review, but he was part of its subject matter. He didn’t like being part of it but when dysfunction runs in a family—and many families have this problem—and someone writes about it the likelihood is that members are going to be included.
Mr. Unhappy demanded that the review be taken down and an apology issued. Otherwise, he said, he would have no choice but to contact a lawyer. What Mr. Unhappy seems to have not realized is that what a family member says about another family member is an internal problem. When reviewers at BiblioBuffet review a book they talk about the book and its contents. They do not vet it for legal reasons—that’s a publisher’s responsiblility. They simply share their opinion as to whether the book is successful at what it is attemtping to do and whether it is worth reading. An opinion. Which they are entitled to have.
Mr. Unhappy’s claim that he has files of paperwork which dispute the author’s story is of no relevance to us. Mr. Unhappy’s belief that we should bow to his demands is ludicrous. Mr. Unhappy’s belief that we will is . . . not correct.
I hate bullies. I especially hate ignorant bullies who use silly threats to get their way. BiblioBuffet will never violate any legal standards nor will we violate our strong ethical ones. But we are an opinion site. The reviewers and editors of BiblioBuffet work to provide honest, forthright, and excellent reviews of books worth reading. If one of those books causes hurt to another that is something that needs to be addressed with the author and/or publisher. Not a review site.
The result? Mr.Unhappy is probably due to remain unhappy.
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The second incident that upped my “grrr” factor involved payment. Contribtors are paid on a monthly basis. I use my credit union’s services to send checks out. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from one contributor who had not yet received his check. An inquiry showed the check had been cashed, though not by him, so I contacted my credit union this morning. They credited my account and promptly began an investigation.
The contributor had, in the meantime, gone into the bank that had cashed the check—he also banks at a credit union, not a bank and certainly not this bank—and talked to the manager:
He kept saying, “Well it was a mistake” and I said, “Listen! The check was in a sealed envelope addressed to me. It was sent to me and made out to me. Anyone opening the envelope is already breaking the law. And then depositing it?”
And why was he making excuses for the person who did it?
And in a subsequent e-mail:
I’m steaming and it’s not just the weather.
Every check coming in has to be surveyed, and if it’s not made out to the depositor, there has to be a valid signature. This “manager” was trying to act as if one of his clerks wasn’t responsible.
And he didn’t even apologize!
What if this was a scam, say, someone trying a check with a small amount first–?
Yes, things are being handled but it’s a mistake to mess with me, especially with something about which I am so protective. Mistakes are one thing; deliberate indifference is another. About the former I am very polite. I ask only that the mistake be corrected. About the latter . . . not so much. Threats, even less so.
BiblioBuffet is a labor of love. No less labor than love, and everyone who writes for it carries a passion and intensity for the site. No one messes with it. No one.